NEWARK, N.J. -- As if the Florida Panthers needed yet another injury to a key player, forward Shawn Matthias left Saturday's game against the New Jersey Devils briefly after being hit in the face with a deflected puck 9:56 into the second period.
Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov took a shot from the right circle that appeared to be blocked by Devils forward Ryan Carter before hitting Matthias in the face. Matthias left the game on his own power. He returned at the start of the third period with several stitches above his left eye.
Matthias has nine goals and 12 points in 31 games this season.
I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.
— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie